Woody Allen: Soon-Yi "Responded to Someone Paternal"

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Woody Allen

The filmmaker opens up about his controversial relationship with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter and whether allegations that he abused Dylan Farrow have affected how people view his movies.

Woody Allen has opened about his relationship with his ex-partner Mia Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, saying in an interview on NPR's website that Previn "responded to someone paternal."

He adds that the fact that he's 35 years older than she and "paternal" created a dynamic that works.

Allen, whose latest movie, Irrational Man, opened in select theaters July 17, spoke with film critic Sam Fragoso about a range of topics including his filmmaking process, personal shortcomings (he says he's "lazy and an imperfectionist"), therapy, whether he's ever taken drugs ("never"), his upcoming Amazon series and his legacy.

As for his relationship with Previn, to whom he's been married for 20 years after becoming romantically involved with her while he still was in a relationship with Farrow, Allen says he "lucked out."

He goes on to say of their dynamic: "I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision-making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things. She flourished."

And he admits that he initially felt about his relationship with Previn much like the general public did, saying, "I thought it was ridiculous." He adds that it began as a "fling" and became something more.

"I started the relationship with her, and I thought it would just be a fling," he says. "It wouldn't be serious, but it had a life of its own. And I never thought it would be anything more. Then we started going together, then we started living together, and we were enjoying it. And the age difference didn't seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favor actually."

Allen also claims that allegations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, which he's repeatedly denied, haven't affected how people approach his movies, arguing that his modest fan base responds to reviews.

"I always had a small audience. People did not come in great abundance, and they still don't, and I've maintained the same audience over the years," Allen says. "If the reviews are bad, they don't come. If the reviews are good, they probably come."

He goes on to insist that his personal behavior doesn't affect how people view his movies or how he makes them.

"I never see any evidence of anything in my private life resonating in film," he says.

Allen also said he's still struggling with his upcoming six-episode Amazon series.

"I think they're going to be embarrassed. They're going to regret that they started up with me," he said. "I'm doing my best. I have grave doubts about them. I thought it was going to be an easy score. Movies are not easy, but it's not a cinch. I don't want to disappoint them."

As for his legacy, Allen says he doesn't "really care."

"It wouldn't matter to me, aside from the royalties to my kids, if they took all my films and dumped them," he says. "You and I could be standing over [William] Shakespeare's grave, singing his praises, and it doesn't mean a thing. You're extinct."

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